The Next Generation’s Voice: SSU Students’ Opinions on Voting

March 13, 2023
Jason Hill Jr., Third Year Communication and Economics Major

Jason Hill Jr., Third Year Communication and Economics Major

Natalia Farias Maldonado has long dark colored hair and is smiling at the camera
Natalia Farias Maldonado

I had the opportunity to interview Sonoma State students and hear their thoughts on one of the pillars of American democracy, the right to vote. Historically, young people vote at much lower rates when compared to older people. Even though the 2020 election had some of the highest voter turnouts in recent history, only 51.4% of people 18-24 voted, while 76% of people 65-74 voted throughout the United States. While interviewing students, I focused on what compels them to vote and what deters them from voting. I interviewed 12 students; 75% were registered voters, and 66.6% voted in the last midterm election. 

When asking about students' driving force to vote, we can see how passionate SSU students are about their right to vote. As said by third-year Econ and Communication major, Jason Hill Jr., "It's the only way you have a direct say in how things are governed, and it's critical to not take that for granted." When asked further about why it's important to vote, he stated, "voting is not just central to a functioning democracy, but as an African American, I believe voting is very critical to me and my race to success. African Americans fought for the right to vote for a long time; they weren't given the right to vote. They had to earn that right through the works of people like Martin Luther King Jr, Medgar Evers, and other civil rights leaders."  

Jenna Rezentes, Second Year
Biology Major

When looking at why students choose not to vote, the primary response was that they didn't have adequate information to make informed decisions or felt their vote didn't matter. 25% of interviewed students did not vote, and 50% listed a lack of reputable information as the reason why. As said by 2nd-year Biology major Jenna Rezentes, "The information I do see about voting and the voting process is from social media, and I don't necessarily trust that." 

With the expansion of the internet and social media, misinformation has become rampant during election seasons. Decoding misinformation is now a crucial part of being a responsible voter, which can be overwhelming at times. For more support concerning decrypting misinformation, students can check out Evaluate Information - Research Guides at Sonoma State University for tips and tricks on evaluating the accuracy of sources. Further regarding making informed voting choices, there are non-partisan online resources such as and

As for the belief that your vote doesn't make a difference, we repeatedly see that that is not the case. In the 2022 midterms, elections such as the Sebastopol City Council race were decided by fewer than 100 votes. Furthermore, when looking at the Calistoga Unified School District Board member's race, we see that Indira Lopez-Jones narrowly beat out Mathew S. Ried by 19 votes. When looking at close elections such as these, we can really see how impactful each person's vote is. For more information regarding registering to vote or checking your voter registration status, students can check out Register to Vote and Voter Resources | Sonoma County Library for information concerning when, where, and how to vote.